REVIEW: Dreyer’s/Edy’s Limited Edition S’mores

Happy summer! Yes, despite the fact that s’mores flavored products have already been circling about for months and rumors of new pumpkin spice treats are already surfacing, today marks the actual first day of the longest and warmest days of the year. While I do appreciate a nice long evening, summer is one of my least favorite times of the year. It’s hot, there’s no basketball, and cinnamon is so far on the back burner from the holiday’s I start to have withdrawals. That being said, it’s still a marvelous time to be alive, especially because graham crackers are everywhere, including in Dreyer’s Limited Edition S’mores, which combines toasted marshmallow and chocolate light ice creams swirled together with a graham cracker ribbon, mini marshmallows, and chocolaty chips.

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REVIEW: Ben & Jerry’s Limited Batch Gimme S’more!

Summer time is s’mores time and Ben & Jerry’s are reminding us of that nice and early with their latest Limited Batch. You may be saying to yourself “wait, doesn’t B&J already have a s’mores flavor?”, and yes, you’re right they definitely do. It’s an okay pint with a chocolate base that doesn’t have enough oomph to earn itself a slot in my top tier flavors. S’mores ice cream’s are notoriously kind of tricky to pull off, and the best mainstream iteration actually comes from 711’s Go Yum brand, which utilizes a graham base and multiple swirls for something really damn good. In any case, if there’s a company that can pull out the stops and right their initial wrongs with a remix on one of summer’s most beloved flavors it’s definitely Ben & Jerry’s. Gimme S’more! combines a toasted marshmallow ice cream with chocolate cookie swirls, graham cracker swirls, and fudge flakes.

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REVIEW: Ben & Jerry’s Glampfire Trail Mix

Until today I had no idea what “glamping” was, and there’s a decent chance you don’t either, so I’ll get ya up to speed. Glamping is short for “glamour camping” and is the hybrid of the lovely outdoor freshness of traditional camping and more posh resort-style hotel amenities of regular vacationing. It truly is the hypothetical best of both world’s, where you can go on a long mind-clearing hike and take a poop into something that flushes before roasting some marshmallows over an easy-to-ignite outdoor fire pit. Speaking of marshmallows, and similarly to my lack of knowledge about glamping, I had no clue Target was getting a new exclusive flavor from Ben & Jerry’s, and was stopped in my tracks when doing my daily perusing of the frozen aisle at my favorite red-clad establishment. Apparently inspired by faux-camping and uber decadent hiking snacks, Glampfire Trail Mix combines chocolate ice cream with crunchy pretzel swirls, marshmallow swirls, and fudge-covered almonds.

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REVIEW: Honey Maid S’mores Cereal

Dunking a graham cracker into a tall cold glass of milk is one of the quintessential nostalgic past times of childhood. Maybe it’s because they aren’t chocolate or filled with crème, but for whatever reason I was allowed to eat graham crackers way more often than normal cookies as a child, and for me they are the ultimate companion to milk. I could do without milk and cookies in every other application, I’ll take some black coffee instead, but milk belongs with graham like Curry belongs on the Warriors, and the two compliment each other in soft subtle ways like no other. The top dawg brand of them all, of course, is Honey Maid, and in its glorious shadow all other crackers taste like mere imitators. It’s time for all other cereal’s to feel like imitators too, because the big boy has come to play with Honey Maid S’mores Cereal.

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REVIEW: Coolhaus’ Campfire S’mores

Taking a hot, melty, crunchy dessert usually made over a fire and turning it into a frozen treat is no easy feat – and that’s why so many of them fail. Surprisingly, the best mainstream version of s’mores ice cream comes from a convenience store – 7-11, and a lot of attempts miss out on one or more crucial element that make s’mores so damn delicious. As the mint-dominated wonderland of holiday flavors begin to takeover the flavor of everything in sight I thought it would be nice to have one last summery taste of a take on the tricky profile. Coolhaus’ Campfire S’mores combines a salted tahitian vanilla bean ice cream with a graham cracker cookie butter-marshmallow swirl and dark chocolate squares.

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Salted vanilla bean ice cream? Not quite, but the base is still pretty tasty with a great vanilla bean flavor. Having had a number of great salted bases this one doesn’t really jump out at me as being salty at all, but it does have a nice balanced sweetness to it that maybe is the result of the presence of some salt. The texture is a little strange – it has a fluffier consistency that I normally associate with lower quality ice creams, but it isn’t super gummy or offputting, more smooth and creamy but light. In a weird way it kind of reminds me of gooey marshmallows and I even get hints of graham in the flavor like all the s’mores’ elements are being channeled in some odd maybe intentional maybe accidental way.

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The most interesting part of this pint, and the one that is a true mouthful, is the graham cracker cookie butter-marshmallow swirl. When I read the description I was bummed they didn’t do two separate swirls, and I read “cookie butter” as translating to speculoos, but it isn’t spicy at all and the cookie butter execution surprisingly works. It’s a cookie butter made with graham instead of the notoriously spicy cookie, and its texture acts as a way to provide the marshmallow-y-ness a s’mores should have. It’s kind of cheating but ultimately pretty good, as it gives a smooth buttery character with graham flavor and a pretty poppin’ sweetness that stands out strong – and there was quite a bit of it integrated through the whole container.

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The dark chocolate squares are pretty average but serve their purpose. Medium-sized with a good cocoa bite, but ultimately kind of dry and unremarkable in the grand scheme of chocolate chips. They have a solid crunch to them but I don’t want crunchy chocolate anywhere near my s’mores, and without a bit of melty-ness to back it up they wound up being my least favorite component in the flavor, even though I do appreciate their dark bitter flavor.

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This is a solid pint of ice cream, and I like it a lot more than the Bananas Foster I initially tried from Coolhaus. Even though it doesn’t deliver on all the campfire magic of a true s’mores, all the elements are represented and I appreciate the creativity that went into the flavor as a whole, especially with that graham cookie butter.

Rating: 8/10
Found at: Safeway ($4.99)

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REVIEW: Girl Scouts S’mores Sandwich Cookies

New year, new cookie. It is officially Girl Scouts season, where we will be charmed and delighted at the sight of tables outside of grocery stores throughout February and then dodging them making excuses in March. Fortunately, at the 2017 price of $6 per box, the Girl Scouts are making the excuses for us, but with with the introduction of the brand new S’mores sandwich cookie I allowed myself to get Scout-swindled once more to entertain my own intrigue.  The sandwich combines a graham cracker cookie with both chocolate and marshmallow creme, much like Oreo did two years ago in May of 2015; but we’ll let the delay in innovation slide since these are being hustled by 8 year old girls in funny outfits.

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The smell is all honey and chocolate, combining for a lovely sweet s’mores perfume. The graham flavor in the cookie is light but present with a golden and slightly salty finish that crumbles nicely and surprisingly dominates over both of the cremes inside. The chocolate is more pronounced than the marshmallow, which seems to do more to tame the cocoa flavor than actually provide any vanilla-y marshmallow flair. To be fair, marshmallow is more of a textural play than it is a highly identifiable flavor, and the sweet ‘mallowy-ness is there in tandem with the chocolate.

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The chocolate itself is on the milk side, with no deep bitter or cocoa flavor – much like the classic Hershey’s bar commonly used to make s’mores around the camp fire (or in your microwave if you’re me, stoned at 1 am). The creme is incredibly smooth, not too sweet, and very pleasant.

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The cookies have a variety of fun Scouty designs printed on the back

As with most sandwich cookies I find the flavors to be more interesting and enjoyable when they’re broken in half, and these s’mores are no exception. When you eat the cookie side on its own the graham comes much more to life, and the creme side reveals a really well balanced milk chocolate flavor. Eaten as a whole the cookie is still good, and conveys the flavors of the classic combo, but the specific notes are much harder to pinpoint.

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Quality-wise I think this cookie ranks up there with the Girl Scouts’ best in Do-si-dos, Tagalongs, Samoas, and Thin Mints. They don’t dethrone any of those from being a potential new champion, but they bring a solid effort and new crunch to the seasonal Scout lineup, especially since the S’mores Oreo are currently RIP.

Rating: 8/10

Note: the s’mores cookie roll out has another version depending on your location and designated bakery, which is a graham cracker with layer of marshmallow covered in chocolate.

REVIEW: flapJACKed S’Mores Mighty Muffin

S’mores is one of the most popular flavors in snack foods the last couple of years, dominating everything from Oreo’s to breakfast cereal to ice cream to protein bars, so it’s no surprise that flapJACKed decided to try this flavor for their Mighty Muffin.  Although I’ve never had a regular s’mores muffin I like the idea and it should be relatively easy to pull off if you can get all three elements to come across – graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate.  Fortunately for flapJACKed they got all three into a magical microwavable protein bomb you make yourself in 35 seconds.

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In my mind the perfect s’mores muffin would be a golden honey graham base loaded with marshmallows, chocolate, and additional chunks of graham cracker.  This Mighty Muffin has all of those components except for the cracker pieces and I can accept that as a pretty solid attempt.  The first thing you will notice is the very strong graham cracker aroma that comes from the freshly zapped muffin.  Much like a good cup of tea the smell is a lot stronger than the actual taste but the honey undercurrent is there and ties the whole s’mores experience together.  The importance of the graham oftentimes gets overlooked when companies try to make a s’mores flavor and I commend flapJACKed for not ignoring this pivotal piece of the campfire puzzle.

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Freshly zapped and muffin-esque

Putting my fork in I find marshmallows and chocolate immediately.  Although small, they are ample, and I’m never left searching for them as I continue to eat.  The chocolate chips get a little bit melty, but oddly enough the marshmallows stay completely firm, so the texture lacks that ooey gooey goodness that make s’mores so fun.  This is a bit disappointing considering the muffin comes out hot, but the sweetness of the marshmallows helps elevate the graham cracker taste in the muffin base and genuinely adds to the s’mores experience despite their lack of meltiness.  Think of these ‘mallows as more like the ones you get on top of Swiss Miss packaged hot chocolate that disappear almost immediately rather than a fresh pack of Jet Puffed.

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Much like the Double Chocolate version I reviewed earlier, this muffin benefits greatly from a little additional moisture and sweetness, either from fruit or nut butter.  The obvious pairing here is D’s Naturals S’mores Fluffbutter, which was awesome, but I found Nuts ’N More’s Birthday Cake spread to really take the s’mores experience to the next level.  This little addition helped fill in the melty gaps I was missing from the marshmallows and created a wonderful protein-loaded eating experience.  This product is not perfect but good enough to keep me trying the rest of their flavors in search of the ultimate Mighty Muffin.

Rating: 7/10

Quick Nutrition: 210 calories – 6g fat – 350mg Sodium – 24g Carbs – 5g Fiber – 10g Sugar – 20g Protein